UNESCO celebrates the 200th anniversary of Nikolaï Gogol’s birth

UNESCO celebrates the 200th anniversary of Nikolaï Gogol’s birth
  • © UNESCO/M. Ravassard

On 1st April 2009, the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura joined Mr Vasil Vovcun, Minister of Culture and Tourism of Ukraine, Mr Kostiantyn Tymoshenko, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Ukraine to UNESCO, and Mrs Eleonora Mitrofanova, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of the Russian Federation to UNESCO, at the opening of an evening of events commemorating the 200th anniversary of the writer Nikolaï Gogol at the Organisation’s Headquarters.

The Director-General paid tribute to Nikolaï Gogol, “this Ukrainian writer who came of age in Saint Petersburg, invented, by his genius of satire, a stylistic mix of comic and tragic that resulted in numerous inspiring volumes about the Russian condition of the 19th century. […] The dominant trait in the works of Nikolaï Gogol is humour and realism. Through his excellent portrayals, he was able to reinvent the historical novel, and did so at the same time that he became the head of the style known as the ‘Natural School’”.

Noting that Gogol’s most celebrated novels, plays, and short stories such as Tarass Boulba, The Inspector-General, and The Nose, constitute part of the world’s literary heritage today, Mr Matsuura recalled the storylines of some of his favourites works by Gogol. “It is a writer that I read in my youth and whose work remains rooted in my memory as one of my greatest reading pleasures”, stated with satisfaction the Director-General.

Mr Matsuura went on to introduce the documentary film about the life of the writer, entitled Gogol, The Lost Paradise, and an exhibition of graphic works illustrating Gogol’s writings by Ukrainian artist Serguiï Yakoutovych.

The Director-General reiterated his appreciation for UNESCO’s association with the celebrations of this anniversary since the 34th session of its General Conference in 2007. He thanked the organizers of the evening, notably the Permanent Delegations of Ukraine and Russia, and underscored that this homage is particularly timely at an Organization like UNESCO, which “sees in literature a universal tool for dialogue and reflection about the human condition”.

For their part, Ambassador Mitrofanova and Minister Vovcun underlined the global impact of Nikolaï Gogol and emphasized the present day significance of the themes he depicted in his works such as social justice, and ethics.

  • Author(s):Office of the Spokesperson
  • Source:Flash Info N° 052-2009
  • 02-04-2009
Europe and North America Latin America and the Caribbean Africa Arab States Asia Pacific